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Business News

Industries to watch for technology innovation in 2021

Agric, health, insurance, and food delivery sectors are taking the center stage in tech innovations.

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How five Nigerian tech-startups are tackling COVID-19 outbreak

Every year, the innovations unlocked by technology grows at a rapid rate. Major disruptions like a pandemic, always reveal opportunities for technology to advance a society. In Nigeria, the pandemic forced many industries to adopt technology in nearly every facet of their operations.

Taking a closer look at the technology trends that are likely to bring significant innovation and growth this year, we see companies in the Agric, health, insurance, and food delivery sectors taking the center stage. These industries appear to have a promising future in 2021 and beyond.

Agriculture

Agric-tech platforms have become the new face of modern-day Agriculture. These platforms offer promising benefits ranging from good dividends to high return on investments to promising investors. The funds are then invested in agricultural projects that will yield the required returns to pay all the stakeholders (farmers, investors, and Agric-tech platform owners) at the end of a production cycle.

According to statistics, Agriculture accounts for over 20 percent of Nigeria’s GDP with an arable land area of 34 million hectares: 6.5 million hectares for permanent crops, and 30.3 million hectares on meadows and pastures. Farmers need a productivity boost and technology is providing that with the rise of Agric tech companies like Thrive Agric, Farm crowdy, etc.

Insurance

The insurance industry started experiencing a revolution with the adoption of InsurTech.

InsurTech became the major growth driver for industrial innovation throughout the insurance industry. With the diverse range of wealth management products, everyone can live without the worries of the future. There are innovative insurance products for protection, savings, and reward systems. Insurtechs like Casava, Curacel, Tangerinelife are rising to build products that cater and provide insurance to individuals and corporate entities.

Health

Nigeria’s health care system has gone from being comparable to the rest of the world in the 70s and early 80s, to one of the world’s most underfunded sectors. As the sector struggles to cater to the health needs of nearly 200 million people, an innovative technology scene has created a new wave of startups focused on combating challenges in Nigeria’s health sector. An example is helium health which helps medical institutions document and record their patients’ medical history. Medplus has a platform in which a patient can upload his prescription and also have it delivered to his location. Healthplus runs one of West Africa’s largest integrated pharmacy chains and also provides a platform where loyal customers are rewarded via a scoring system.

Food Delivery

The demand for food delivery was at an all-time high during the pandemic. This gave rise to FoodTech. FoodTech startups combine food science and technology to enhance the service delivery of the industry by using Internet-based technologies for the preparation and distribution of food. Foodtech like Jumia food, Chopnownow, ourEdenlife, and boltfood have made food delivery easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone.

What this means

Many innovative technologies will continue to be introduced as the world evolves, although some industries may take longer to adapt and integrate new technologies into their products and services. This year we expect massive results and innovations across different sectors and industries.

Janet John is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Uyo. She specializes in technical writing where she creates easy to read documentation, articles to clearly and efficiently explain highly complex processes. When she is not writing, she works as a freelance front-end developer

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Real Estate

FG to unveil dedicated portal for sale of houses to Nigerians

The Federal Government has announced plans to launch a dedicated web portal for the sale of buildings to Nigerians in the next few weeks.

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Nigeria needs N1.5 trillion within the next 3 years to fix roads - Fashola

The Federal Government has announced plans to launch a dedicated web portal for the sale of buildings to Nigerians in the next few weeks.

The platform is expected to help contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) access mortgage loans on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This disclosure was made by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola while speaking at the ninth meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Jos, Plateau State.

Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, pointed out that the ministry is currently at the completion stages of the first phase of the national housing programme in 34 states of the federation, which provided land for it.

He said, “We urge the state governments to alert their residents to this opportunity for interested persons to apply.”

Fashola commended the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for being at the forefront of the cooperative housing initiative at the federal level, adding that it has the advantage of allowing cooperative members to choose what they design and build to fit their budgets.

They can leverage their members to get group discount for the purchase of building materials as well as the engagement of contractors.

Fashola disclosed that FMBN as the driver of the housing initiative has engaged 86 co-operatives in projects; approved N35, 784 billion cumulatively; disbursed N10.95 billion; and processed as at January, 57 co-operative housing development loans.

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Fashola emphasized that what the Federal Government can do directly in housing is limited compared to what states can do, just as state governments are also limited, compared to what the private sector and individuals can do.

He said, “The majority of houses available for sale or rent belong to individuals and private companies compared to what states or Federal Government has available. Therefore, many of the tenants who owe rent, who face eviction or who seek to rent or buy property are dealing with private citizens or companies and less so with government agencies.’

My recommendation for improving access and affordability to housing in the Covid-19 era is for private companies and individuals to give back some of what they control to citizens in the way the Federal Government has given back to citizens some of what it controls.’’

He explained, “for example in cases where the rent of businesses or individuals are due for renewal, the private landlords can give back, by accepting monthly, quarterly or half-yearly rent instead of one year, two or three years rent in advance.”

Bottom line

Nigeria has been bedevilled by a housing crisis that has left Africa’s most populous nation ill-equipped to properly provide accommodation for its citizens and inhabitants.

Some of the housing problems in the country include unresolved rent tenure arrangements, high cost of building materials, access to infrastructure, deficiency of housing finance arrangements, stringent loan conditions from mortgage banks, time to process legal documents and inadequate government housing policies.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: Nigeria committed to procuring 29 million J&J vaccines

The Nigerian Government is still committed to acquiring 29.59 million doses of Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccines through the Afrixem Bank AVAT initiative. 

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AstraZeneca suspends COVID-19 vaccine final stage trial over safety concerns, COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

The Nigerian Government says it is still committed to acquiring 29.59 million doses of Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccines through the Afrixem Bank AVAT initiative.

This was disclosed Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance at the recent ‘Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) General Assembly webinar.

What the Minister said

“Therefore, the supplementary budget for COVID-19 vaccines will cover the cost of additional vaccines over and above those provided by COVAX, as well as the full cost of operations and logistics for delivering the vaccines around the country.

Already, the sum of N29.1 billion has been released from the Routine Immunization budgetary provision (Service Wide Vote) to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) as an advance for the operational cost of deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines. The N29.1 billion represents about 52 percent of the amount required over 2021-22,” she said.

She added that FG plans to vaccinate 70 percent of eligible (18 years and above) Nigerians over the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, with the COVAX agreement willing to cover 43.1 million of the eligible population.

In case you missed it

The World Health Organization (WHO)  announced the approval of China’s Sinopharm vaccine for Covid-19 vaccination. The vaccine is reported to have 79% efficacy against covid.

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